Monday, May 7, 2012

Palo Pinto Morning

Last week I left early one cloudy morning for Palo Pinto County west of Fort Worth.  The country beyond the Brazos River changes from the rolling prairies here to more of a rugged bluff country.  I know of several good two lane roads that wind through some of the neater stretches of the area with good views and I was hoping for some good wildflowers.


Much like Fort Worth, I think most the trees found here are a fairly recent addition to the landscape of the last 120 years.  The cedar and mesquite being the best examples of species that would not have been found here.  However, like much of the prairie the mesquite came north with the cattle drives and the cedar have spread rapidly with no range fires.  That has also allow the oaks to really mature in areas they might not have.  


Today the area seems to have a great many trees.


It was some of those oaks and pecan trees that I hoped I might be able to work into a photograph.


What started out as a cloudy day turned into a slight rain with a few lightening strikes and then fizzled with the dawn.  We made it to our standby area to find that the clouds were rapidly fading with the morning light and the western sky was totally clear.  


I set up the tripod and worked a few compositions and trees into images in the quiet of the cool morning.  Then as the light started to build we found a great lone tree in a field.  There were some wildflowers around it too.  It was just a question of waiting for the sun to peak over the receding cloud line and see if it would light up the tree and flowers.


Patience.


Then the sun cleared the clouds and lit the scene with some bright, warm light.  I snapped several images.  Bracketed exposures.  Some with a grad filter.  Some with out.  


Got it.


We drove on and even though we tried to follow the clouds to the southeast, they fled faster than we could follow.  It became a clear sunny day.  With that in mind we started looking more for wildflowers.  We stopped and photographed several patches and then encountered one with a fair amount of butterflies.  Even though I am not much of a successful wildflower photographer, I decided to give it the old college try and even add in the butterflies for added effect.  So I got down low and started watching.  The wind and fluttering of the butterflies meant conditions were changing by the instant.  I had to rely of AF which is not something I am used to.  This was a far different way to photograph than my normal, tripod, live view, and mirror lock up.


My success rate was low but I did get one or two that somewhat worked.


It added up to a productive morning and a couple of nice images.


Not a bad day for a a short drive from the house.






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